WEST CHESTER—Avon Grove’s Kevin Francis was his usual productive self, scoring three touchdowns for Avon Grove as the Red Devils posted a 41-21 victory on the road at Henderson. But this week the rushing game was balanced with a solid effort through the air, as well, with quarterback Shane Wolford throwing for a pair of scores.
“I love Shane, and I think he’s a very good quarterback,” said Devils’ coach Harry O’Neill. “(Henderson) was coming at us with five down linemen and nine in the box to try to stop Kevin (Francis) so we had to throw the ball.”
After forcing a Warriors’ three-and-out on the game’s first possession, Avon Grove took over at its own 28, then marched off a six-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a 49-yard scoring strike from Wolford to Tyler Boyd. Boyd caught two passes for 50 yards and the score.
“We have been practicing our passing game all week, so we were well-prepared,” said Wolford, who finished the night with 147 yards and two TDs on 3 of 8 passing.. “But it’s all the offensive line. They were amazing all night whether we were throwing or passing the ball. We just have to make the most of our opportunities.”
The Red Devils’ scored on their next possession as well, with an 83 yard drive highlighted by a 61-yard romp from fullback Dillon Estes.
“It says a lot about the job that offensive line does when they can put nine in the box and we can rush the way we did,” said O’Neill. “And it’s not just one guy doing all the work running.”
Seven different ball carriers combined for 319 yards on the ground for the Red Devils.
Henderson cut the lead in half early in the second when they took advantage of a Red Devils’ turnover and marched off a drive culminating with a 22-yard scamper by quarterback Joe Saulino. CJ Preston scored the other Henderson touchdowns, and put together a nice night of his own, despite the final result. Preston picked up 168 yards on 30 carries to lead the Warriors offense.
“There’s nothing wrong with CJ Preston,” said Henderson coach Steve Mitten. “He’s one of the best backs in the area. That is one of the most frustrating parts of this season is that he isn’t going to get the attention he deserves.”
Wolford threw the ball just once in the second half, but made it count, connecting with Jordan Paone for a 53-yard scoring strike.
It wasn’t all perfect for Avon Grove. The Devils turned it over on four occasions, and were a little flat in the early going.
“I wasn’t really pleased with our effort tonight,” said O’Neill. “I don’t think we really matched their energy early on. I thought we’d rebound a little more strongly from last week ( a loss) at Coatesville. We made way too many mistakes at times we can’t be making them as we move forward with the season.”
Avon Grove 41 Henderson 21
Avon Grove 14 14 13 0 — 41
Henderson 0 7 0 14 — 21
AG–Boyd 49-pass from Wolford (Sheehan Kick) 7-0
AG–Estes 61-run (Sheehan Kick) 14-0
WCH— Saulino 22-run (Tracy kick) 14-7
AG–Francis 43-run (Sheehan Kick) 21-7
AG–Francis 10-run (Sheehan Kick) 28-7
AG–Paone 53-pass from Wolford (pass fail) 34-7
AG–Francis 3-run (Sheehan Kick) 41-7
WCH– Preston 25-run (Tracy kick) 41-14
WCH–Prestong 4-run (tracy kick) 41-24
First downs 13 15
Rushes-yards 32-319 45-245
Passing 3-8 5-16
Passing yards 147 61
Total yards 566 301
Punts 2-33 4-34
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-15 2-20
Rushing —AG Francis 20-188 3TD, Estes 2-66 TD, Wolford3-20, Arhontakis 4-34, Lapham 1-2, McDonald 1-3, Rossiter 1-6 WCH–Preston 30-168 2TD, Saulino 9-65 TD, Jones 3-17, Hopton 1-2, Thomas 1-2 Williams 1-(-9)
Passing —AG–Wolford 3-8, 147, 2TD, 2INT WCH–Saulino 5-16, 61
Receiving —AG–Boyd 2-94, TD, Paone 1-53 TD, WCH–Tracy 2-50, Hopton 1-11, Preston 1-4 Jones 1-(-4),
Interceptions — WCH–Saulino, Keegan
Sacks —Yurkovich, Lewis